CAMPBELL: Remain united after bitter campaign

CAMPBELL: Remain united after bitter campaign

It has been a very long election season. Maybe I feel this way because it is only the second presidential election I have voted in. More likely it is that we are in one of the most polarizing political climates our nation has seen in decades. Last Thursday, a public radio show “This American Life” featured a piece about how the current political climate has destroyed friendships, relationships and family ties.

But now the election is over. President Barack Obama will remain in office for the next four years. As the last of the seemingly never-ending political ads trickle off the air, it is time for us, as a nation, to move out of the election mindset and forward together.

But this is going to take understanding.

This election was so brutal, not just on a presidential level, but for many places, also on a local level. People are still upset about how things turned out last night. It is going to take effort for America to heal from the wounds opened over the past few months.

And that healing cannot happen if we are unable to learn how to put our differences aside and work together.

There is no room for liberals to rub this win in their conservative friends’ faces or for conservatives to get caught up in the bitterness of the loss. That is not what America needs.

We have elected a president. We have not fixed all the problems we need to fix. And it is not solely the responsibility of the president to settle all ills of the nation. Whether or not you agree with the policies of the president, there is still so much you can do to help your fellow citizens.

Across the country today, there are millions of people living below the poverty level, millions of students who are not receiving adequate education and millions of people whose voices are not being heard. There are Americans all across the nation who are suffering. It is downright ignorant to blame that on one person or political party.

There is nothing productive about complaining, nothing productive about over-celebration. President Obama’s campaign was all about moving forward, and that is something we need to do – together. It will literally be impossible to get anything done if we remain divided. We are all citizens of the same country, and we have a responsibility to one another, no matter whom we voted for or what we believe.

The bitter partisanship America has known in recent years needs to change. That does not mean people need to change their beliefs, but rather, change their opinions about their opponents. You have every right to hold whatever opinion you want, but there needs to be more effort to understand each other and find ways to accomplish things as a one nation, indivisible.

In the words of the great Bruce Springsteen, “Wherever this flag’s flown, we take care of our own.” That means everybody, not just half of America. To take care of our own, we need to understand them. Reach out to someone whose beliefs do not match your own and learn something about her or his viewpoint. Find areas where you do agree. Respect that person as a human being and a fellow American, not just as an opposing opinion. Your rights do not change with your political leanings.